Kasalan sa Ireland

Aug. 23 - Sep. 1, 2013

by Norman Bituin



When we got invited to our niece's wedding in Ireland, I pulled out the backpack once more from the closet. My eldest sister, Melody Bituin-O'Toole, who lives partly in Ireland during the summer, had asked me to join her at the ceremony. She was picking up my air fare so it was a no-brainer. All I had to do was get a week off from work. Since the wedding was on the following Saturday, Aug. 31, when I left on Aug. 23 I had a whole week to gallivant in the UK (England and Wales) and Ireland on my own.


This was my second trip to "The Emerald Isle". First time was in '05 with Cherry and our son Kurt when we visited Melody and her husband Cristhy; then proceeded to Northern Ireland and Scotland. This time my plan was to fly across the Irish Sea to Liverpool, England and take the British Rail to Wales.  Back in Ireland, I had bought an "open road" 3-days-use pass good for 6 days from Bus Eireann, which I used to wander around the island before ending up at the wedding in Limerick. As usual, I was traveling light with my backpack - 25 lbs. with 2 blue jeans, a few shirts, a windbreaker and a down vest. In the camera bag I had my Canon T3i and two lenses - 17-70mm 2.8  and 55-250mm 3.5.


A bit about our niece. Eloise Mendoza Tan is the daughter of our cousin Evelyn from my mother's "capampangan" side in Tarlac. She grew up in Toronto, got her PhD from McGill University in Montreal and, as an educator, she heads a multi cultural/diversity program in Dublin. The groom, Peter Muir, who has a business degree in Hotel Management, works for a global hotel chain.


That said, I will proceed with my week travel journal giving only a brief caption and text of the pictures and places for historical background. At the end is a cost schedule.




Philadelphia, USA


In 1682, William Penn founded the city to serve as the capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. During the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers of the United States signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787 in Philadelphia. The city served as the temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C., was under construction.


I had a 15-hour layover in Philadelphia on the way to Dublin arriving at 6am after an overnight flight from LAX. Pet Grajo UPD'60, who lives 20 mins. away from Philadelphia International, picked me up and stayed with me through the afternoon. We had a chance to visit the historical downtown area and also Valley Forge. It was a bonding experience and I thank Brod Pet again for the pleasant time. Philadelphia, the "City of Brotherly Love".




Elfreth's Alley is regarded as the oldest continuously inhabited street in America. Most of Colonial Philadelphia looked like this: cobblestone lanes between the major thoroughfares, small two-story homes, and pent eaves over doors and windows, a local trademark. Since 1702, Elfreth's Alley has been home to more than 3,000 people. Today 32 houses, built between 1728 and 1836, line the alley.


The Betsy Ross House where Betsy Ross lived when she made the first American Flag. She is buried in courtyard.



Independence Hall housed the 7-week session of the First Continental Congress in 1774, and the Liberty Bell.



Valley Forge was the site of the military camp of the American Continental Army over the winter of 1777–1778



A souvenir photo for Folkways Legend Pet Grajo when he sang at the UP SoCal Frat Ball hospitality night in Sept. '06




Dublin, Ireland


Dublin was established as a Viking settlement in the 9th century. The Norman invasion of Ireland was launched from Wales in 1169. King Henry II of England reaffirmed his sovereignty by mounting a larger invasion in 1171 and pronounced himself Lord of Ireland. The Easter Rising of 1916, the Irish War of Independence, and the subsequent Irish Civil War resulted in the partition of Ireland in 1922. It became the capital of the Irish Free State (1922–1949) and now is the capital of the Republic of Ireland.



                          The landmark Spire of Dublin rises 398 feet                             James Joyce, avant-garde novelist and poet           








I took the hop on/hop off bus to see more of the city from the last in '05


Christ Church Cathedral founded around 1028 when Dublin King Sitric made a pilgrimage to Rome


Trinity College founded 1592


Garden of Remembrance is dedicated to "all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom"


Crossing the Irish Sea to the UK




Liverpool, England


Liverpool was founded as a borough of England in 1207 and is the fourth most populous British city. The Atlantic slave trade furthered the economic expansion of Liverpool. By the early 19th century, 40% of the world's trade passed through Liverpool's docks contributing to Liverpool's rise as a major city. Artists of Liverpool origin - The Beatles, Billy Fury, Gerry and the Pacemakers - have produced more number one singles than any other. The city celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2007.

Liverpool Airport was renamed in 2002 after a favorite son, John Lennon



Magical Mystery Tour is a 2-hour fun tour of Beatles Liverpool. I was seated with this young Korean girl who knew the

lyrics and we sang together the Beatles songs being played in the bus. No geographical or age boundaries with their songs.

Street signs were being stolen, likely by tourists and visitors, so at one time it was decided to be just painted on the wall.





Penny Lane neighborhood inspired the song. Lennon and McCartney would meet at Penny Lane junction to catch the bus into the city.


Birthplace of George Harrison - 12 Arnold Grove

A 1-bdr flat for family of 6, with no heating and bathroom (bathtub only), and outside toilet at yard 


Birthplace of Ringo Starr - 9 Madryn Street, now empty and houses saved from demolition


Childhood home of John Lennon - 251 Menlove Avenue


Childhood home of Paul McCartney - 20 Forthlin Road



Strawberry Field, a Salvation Army children's home where Lennon played with other young boys, inspired the song












"Beatles Forever"


The Cavern Quarter







The Cavern Club with tunnels and arches had been used as an air raid shelter during World War II.


The Beatles played in the club nearly 300 times in their early years. Pete Best, left, was

replaced by Ringo Starr as drummer. George, Paul and John are the originals.



1st night at The Cavern

The week I was in Liverpool was the International Beatles Week Festival 2013 organized by The Cavern Club.

There were exhibits, auctions and bands from 20 countries performing at the Adelphi Hotel and Philharmonic Hall.


See my short video clip taken with iphone (turn on speaker) >> The Cavern #1

or via You Tube>>




Malmon wants to be in too. With my souvenirs - The Cavern cap and John Lennon shades.





2nd night at The Cavern






A 3-girl Japanese "Beatles" band mixed it up well with the other male bands


See my short video clip taken with iphone (turn on speaker) >> The Cavern #2

or via You Tube>>




Conwy, Wales


Conwy is a medieval walled town with a foreboding castle and a picturesque quay set against a stunning mountainous backdrop. Conwy Castle and the town walls were built, on the instruction of Edward I of England, between 1283 and 1289, as part of his conquest of the principality of Wales. Conwy was the original site of Aberconwy Abbey, founded by Llywelyn the Great. Edward and his troops took over the abbey site and gave English settlers incentives to move to the walled garrison town.
















Chester, England


Chester was founded as a  Roman fort in the year 79 by the Roman Legion II during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian. The Roman Empire fell three hundred years later, and the Romano-British established a number of petty kingdoms in its place. The Saxons extended and strengthened the walls of Chester to protect the city against the Danes, who occupied it for a short time. Chester was one of the last towns in England to fall to the Normans in the Norman conquest of England. William the Conqueror ordered the construction of a castle to dominate the town and the nearby Welsh border.













Chester Cathedral is dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary and dates from 1093









Galway, Ireland


Galway started as a fort constructed in 1124 by the King of Connacht and was invaded by the Normans in the 1230s. In the Middle Ages, Galway was the principal Irish port for trade with Spain and France. During the 16th and 17th centuries Galway remained loyal to the English crown. However, in 1642 the city had allied itself with the Catholic Confederation of Kilkenny. Cromwellian forces captured the city after a nine-month siege.  At present, it is the the sixth most populous in Ireland.




Bus Eireann is a convenient and cheap (54 euros, 3-day pass) to see Ireland. The train neglects much of the countryside while the

bus system is more extensive, but you can also get rail/bus pass combo. Seniors ride free anywhere in Ireland and Northern Ireland.  




The Irish countryside


Golfers playing at the links


John F. Kennedy Memorial Park (Eyre Square) with the bust of JFK. He made a speech here in June 1963.

We all know what happened five months after during a motorcade on that fateful day, Nov. 22, in Dallas, TX.





Galway Cathedral was built only in 1965 and is dedicated to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas




















Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland



The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of up to one million visitors every year. Standing 702 feet at their highest point they stretch for 5 miles along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland. From the Cliffs of Moher on a clear day one can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as the mountains in Connemara. The cliffs consist mainly of beds of Namurian shale and sandstone. It is possible to see 300 million year-old river channels cutting through, forming unconformities at the base of the cliffs. There are an estimated 30,000 birds living on the cliffs, representing more than 20 species. These include Atlantic Puffin, hawks, gulls, guillemots, shags, ravens and choughs.












As I experienced, a sudden gust of wind can knock you down. I did not walk as this lady - could be blown over the cliff!







Shannon, Ireland


Shannon is the satellite town of the nearby city of Limerick. It is a new town built in the 1960s on reclaimed marshland alongside Shannon International Airport which serves the Limerick/Clare region in the west of Ireland. Since its establishment in 1959, more than 110 overseas companies, like Lufthansa, Technik, GE Capital and Symantec, have chosen to open subsidiaries in Shannon.





B&Bs in Ireland are generally family-owned and feel homey, moderately priced and include full breakfast.















Limerick, Ireland


The city dates from at least the Viking settlement in 812. The Normans redesigned the city in the 12th century and added much of the most notable architecture, such as King John's Castle and St Mary's Cathedral. The Treaty of Limerick in 1691 ended the religious war in Ireland which was fought between supporters of the Catholic King James II and the Protestant King William of Orange. The treaty offered toleration to Catholicism and full legal rights to Catholics that swore an oath of loyalty to William and Mary. Limerick is the oldest city and the third most populous city in the state.


King John's Castle was built on the orders of King John in 1200




The Treaty of Limerick in 1691 gave Catholics legal rights and ended the war with the dominant Protestants



St Mary's Cathedral, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and founded 1168, is the oldest building still in use.


Peter Muir and Eloise Mendoza Tan walk down the aisle


To Peter's right are his siblings - Andrew, Christine and Alexander



With Eloise's mother Evelyn and my sister Melody


Eloise's cousins from Canada flew in for the 2nd wedding ceremony (first one was in Toronto in July)


At the wedding reception at the groom's hometown of Doolin, 77 kms. from Limerick


Saying goodbye to Cristhy and Melody...


... and back at home with a few "pasalubong" for the family.


The End






Kasalan sa Ireland: Aug 23 - Sep 2, 2013 Cost (US$)
  Depart Date & Time   Arrive Date & Time Hotel (#nights, b=breakfast)  
US Airways 782 Los Angeles 8/23 Fr 10:15p   Philadelphia 8/24 Sa 6:17a   $949.62
US Airways 722 Philadelphia 8/24 Sa 9:00p   Dublin 8/25 Su 8:45a    
8/25 Su:  BRAY Cristhy home (1) $0.00
Ryanair FR442 Dublin 8/26 Mo 6:45a   Liverpool 8/26 Mo 7:40a   $94.53
British Rail Liverpool 8/27 Tu 7:15a   Chester 8/27 Tu 8:01a   $25.87
British Rail Chester 8/27 Tu 8:55a   Conwy 8/27 Tu 9:46a    
British Rail Conwy 8/27 Tu 12:17p   Chester 8/27 Tu 1:13p   $23.17
British Rail Chester 8/27 Tu 4:15p   Liverpool 8/27 Tu 5:00p    
8/26 Mo - 8/27 Tu:  LIVERPOOL Campanile Liverpool (2) $134.29
Ryanair FR445 Liverpool 8/28 We 4:00p   Dublin 8/28 We 4:55p    
8/28 We:  BRAY Cristhy home (1) $0.00
Bus Eireann 20 Dublin 8/29 Th 7:00a   Galway 8/29 Th 10:25a   $75.84
8/29 Th:  GALWAY Asgard Guest House (1,b) $66.76
Bus Eireann 50 Galway  8/30 Fr 10:30a   Cliffs of Moher  8/30 Fr 12:20p    
Bus Eireann 337 Cliffs of Moher 8/30 Fr 6:10p   Shannon 8/30 Fr 7:55p     
8/30 Fr:  SHANNON The Courtyard Guesthouse (1,b) $72.10
Bus Eireann 51 Shannon 8/31 Sa 10:20a   Limerick 8/31 Sa 10:45a *Wedding: St. Mary's Cathedral, 2p  
8/31 Sa:  DOOLIN Hotel Doolin (1,b) $0.00
Bus Eireann 337 Doolin 9/01 Su 10:40a   Limerick 9/01 Su 1:20p    
Bus Eireann 12 Limerick 9/01 Su 2:30p   Dublin 9/01 Su 5:45p    
9/01 Su:  BRAY Cristhy home (1)  $0.00
US Airways 725 Dublin 9/02 Mo 9:30a   Charlotte 9/02 Mo 12:50p    
US Airways 1979 Charlotte 9/02 Mo 2:55p   Los Angeles 9/02 Mo 4:57p                                                 Total $1,442.18





(Back ---> Travelogue)


(Back ---> Current Features)